Our population is changing
Social security and welfare payments are growing rapidly and unsustainably as Australia's population ages
Longer life expectancy is a cause for celebration but the current pressures on social security and welfare payments are not sustainable.
We must tighten the current safety net to focus on supporting and protecting the most vulnerable Australians.
Between 2010 and 2050 the number of people aged 65 to 84 is expected to double and the number of people 85 and older is expected to quadruple. In contrast, the number of people of traditional 'working age' to support each person over the age of 65 will decline from five in 2010 to just under three in 2050.
Increases in welfare payments
Social security and welfare spending, including pensions, family payments, unemployment benefits and childcare support, make up 35 per cent of the Budget, or around $145 billion of spending in 2014‑15.
Over the last ten years real spending on social security and welfare has increased. Without policy change, over the next ten years spending on the Disability Support Pension is projected to increase by 75 per cent.
There are periods in life when people are unable or not expected to participate in paid employment, for example if they are caring, or retired. During these times the Government will continue to support those who need it most.
However, we have made decisions to pull back payments where it is too easy for capable and able people neither to work nor study. This will support the sustainability of the welfare system as the population ages.